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Here’s How COVID-19 Pandemic Might Affect Health Insurance Coverage

The COVID-19 crisis is having a disastrous effect on the planet’s population. Thousands across the world have fallen prey to the deadly coronavirus and have eventually lost their lives. Going by the current statistics, things are not looking very bright. Amidst such a scenario, people are constantly worrying about their health and that of their family. Having a proper health insurance plan is a necessity now and not something you can overlook. However, as the coronavirus pandemic is spreading its fangs across the length and breadth of the United States, government health programs and private health insurers could have to bear higher health costs. Get to know about what the effects can be on your health insurance coverage.

Testing and Treatment Costs

The current coronavirus pandemic would have a direct impact on health care costs in the United States. And that will possibly be through testing and treatment of COVID-19. It is impossible to say the extent to which the costs might go up. The key factor being the increase in the cases and severity of coronavirus cases. The onus is on the public health efforts to restrict and alleviate COVID-19 spread.

According to a survey, the COVID-19 outbreak is slowly inching towards its peak in the United States. Still, there exists a high possibility of another coronavirus outbreak. However, this is if the authorities decide to relax the lockdown. As people might not follow the strict social distancing measures. Therefore, the winter season will be a critical period. For the Medicaid program and the private insurers, the geographic distribution of infections throughout different territories would have large scale effects on state budgets and premiums.

Treatment of Severe Cases Might Cost More

For a single test, Medicare pays around $36 to $51. The moment testing becomes more extensive, the total testing cost is bound to creep higher. The labs and hospitals would quote the cost of COVID-19 tests, and that the cost of Medicaid and Medicare would have to cover the cost without asking the patient to share it.

The initial national estimate of coronavirus treatment and the testing expenses was around $34 to $251 billion in the case of commercial insurers. However, this was excluding the people who are under the Medicaid Managed Care Plans or Medicare Advantage Plans, which came out recently.

The baseline estimates, keeping in view an infection rate of 20% and around $84 to $139 billion in the year 2020. The estimates for the year 2021 is around $28 and $46 billion for coronavirus testing and treatment by private. This however, excludes the Medicare Advantage plans, Medicaid MCOs, and commercial insurers that were produced recently.

Delayed Care Might Offset a Few Healthcare Costs

The hospital resources are reaching their limits. And if the widespread outbreak continues on a larger scale, it would lead to more complications. Thus, there will be some delay in care while a few will be foregone. Aside from that, the economic downturn and strict social distancing measures might force individuals to not to go for outpatient care. It would thus refrain them from purchasing prescription drugs they wouldn’t have usually done under normal circumstances.

Taking the IHME model into account, the number of people in dire need of treatment and hospitalization might outnumber the number of beds available in the hospitals in certain parts of the United States. As the reports pour in, several hospitals in the country are either canceling COVID-19 testing and treatment. They’re also delaying the entire procedure of allocating beds and equipment. And thus assigning most of their staff to treat coronavirus patients. As of now, approximately 15% of the country’s population needs hospitalization and treatment, or so do the statistics reveal.

Things to Remember

The coronavirus testing and treatment costs will reach a new high. The figure might stand at tens of billions of dollars. But estimates might vary due to the uncertainty regarding the impact of the pandemic spread. Federal Medicare costs could climb higher than it usually would, owing to COVID-19 spread. But how high, that remains the question. The spending from Medicaid programs will rise from an increase in enrollments and COVID-19 treatment.

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on human lives and the economy. Healthcare expenses have always been a headache for many. And things are only going from bad to worse with the COVID-19 pandemic spread.

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